Make Your Own Noise: Keeping Your Brokerage Relevant and Valuable

Nov 6, 2018 by

“Gino Blefari, CEO of HSF Affiliates LLC, co-moderates RISMedia’s 23rd Annual Power Broker Forum at the REALTORS® Conference & Expo. (Credit: AJ Canaria of PlanOmatic)

Staying relevant—that’s the name of the game in today’s highly competitive real estate industry, and the key to not only surviving the endless barrage of new technological trends and disruptive business models, but thriving, as well. At RISMedia’s 23rd Annual Power Broker Forum, “Compete—and Win—in a Changing Real Estate World,” held at the REALTORS® Conference & Expo, industry experts weighed in on how today’s brokers can beat out the competition and adapt to the modern era of real estate.

The forum was moderated by John Featherston, founder, president and CEO of RISMedia, and Gino Blefari, CEO of HSF Affiliates LLC, which operates Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices and Real Living Real Estate. Lacey Conway, president and principal broker of Latter & Blum, Inc.; James D’Amico, CEO and president of CENTURY 21 North East; Whitney LaCosta, executive vice president of Coach REALTORS®; and Mike Schlott, president of Kinlin Grover, Page Taft and Randall REALTORS®, were panelists.

(L to R) John Featherston, Founder, President & CEO, RISMedia; Mike Schlott, President, Kinlin Grover, Page Taft and Randall REALTORS®; Whitney LaCosta, Executive Vice President, Coach REALTORS®; Jim D’Amico, CEO & President, CENTURY 21 North East; Lacey Conway, President & Principal Broker, Latter & Blum, Inc.; and Blefari (Credit: AJ Canaria of PlanOmatic)

With new entrants to the real estate space commandeering attention on what seems like a daily basis, there’s a lot of noise to work through in order for
brokers to make themselves heard—and this noise can distract from recruiting strategies, retention efforts and agents’ lead-generating and client conversion strategies.

“Present-day companies are looking to appeal to agents and the consumer, but there’s a threat to conventional full-service brokerages: companies that are looking to disrupt the industry’s value chain,” Blefari kicked off the forum. “We are about to see an epic battle between discount brokerages and consumers who think they are being overcharged versus full-service brokerages who believe in their core that they deserve what they earn. You’ve got to treat these guys very seriously—you don’t attract hundreds of millions in capital without having a compelling business plan.”

“There’s a lot of noise out there, and you can lose your focus,” said LaCosta. “You have to know what your value is to agents and clients, and stick to that value. Focus on that and you’ll be successful.”

Going a step above means brokerages have to make enough of their own noise to stay relevant and draw away some of the attention that today’s disruptive business models are reaping—after all, they’re primarily catching the eye of the media because they’re new and unproven, reminded Featherston. For brokerages that have a set track record and have made a name for themselves in the industry, it’s crucial they use their value proposition to make their own commotion and let their voices be heard.

“(L to R) Schlott; LaCosta; and D’Amico (Credit: AJ Canaria of PlanOmatic)

“We are making noise on a daily basis, so it’s hard to hear the other noise,” D’Amico shared. “Our new office, our new lead generation strategies, our new logo, our new tools—that’s the noise that will drown out the pestering emails and the weak recruiting attempts.”

The crashing sound of symbols dominating the conversation? That’s technology, which needs to be embraced to be able to perform and meet today’s “tap and get” consumer expectation. The competition is regularly introducing business models that use technology to target and alleviate the leading pain points for clients today.

“You have to look at your company’s history with the consumer and figure out the pain point. How can we take it away?” LaCosta posed. “If you can do that, you make the experience better for the consumer—and if you don’t take it away, another brokerage will do it for you.”

Culture also plays a significant role—there’s hardly anything as powerful as core values to attract attention and create a boisterous presence. Many real estate disruptors use financial incentives to lure agents; however, many who sign on with these initially-appealing brokerages find that the culture is not what they expected, nor an environment in which they can flourish.

“Featherston co-moderates RISMedia’s 23rd Annual Power Broker Forum. (Credit: AJ Canaria of PlanOmatic)

“Recruiting isn’t about emails or postcards anymore; it’s about contact and finding the right people that fit with the culture of the organization, and going after those people,” said Schlott.

Standing above the competition doesn’t have to mean taking in any and all agents; in fact, relying primarily on agent count can backfire on brokerage productivity. Filling the agent base with quality, professional members—who will not only bring in profits, but also market the brokerage simply because they believe in the cause and have an innate loyalty to the business—will ensure the brokerage outshines the continuous influx of recruitment emails that competitors send.

“Our managers and our agents are our best advertisers,” said Conway. “If they are out doing business and doing well, we don’t have to call around—they want to be with us. We have to do a better job of telling our story, and that’s simply about the people that make up our company—they make us what we are.”

The keys to marketing through the noise and winning in a changing real estate world?

“Culture trumps strategy—tell your story better,” stated Blefari, who also summarized four tips that can lead to a higher chance of attracting and retaining agents and clients:

  • Focus on production, rather than bodies.
  • Get your people to use and adopt technology.
  • Go where the expectations are high and deliver the next big skill.
  • Become better, stronger and more unique.

“The panelists presenting at RISMedia’s 23rd Annual Power Broker Forum (Credit: AJ Canaria of PlanOmatic)

Continuing coverage of the REALTORS® Conference & Expo to come.

Liz Dominguez is RISMedia’s associate content editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark

The post Make Your Own Noise: Keeping Your Brokerage Relevant and Valuable appeared first on RISMedia.


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Homes Have Never Been More Valuable Than They Are Now

Jul 23, 2017 by

The national median home value has careened to over $ 200,000 for the first time, with a 7.4 percent annual gain rocketing it to a new high of $ 200,400, according to the Zillow Home Value Index (ZHVI) in the June Zillow® Real Estate Market Reports. Values in 10 of the 35 major metropolitan areas assessed by Zillow are now within the $ 200,000 range.

Values are on a swift upswing due to low levels of supply and spiking demand. There are now 11 percent fewer homes for sale compared to one year ago, the Reports show.

“The national housing market remains red hot and shows no signs of slowing, even as some local markets like the Bay Area have noticeably cooled,” says Dr. Svenja Gudell, chief economist at Zillow. “But even in areas where the housing market has slowed, home values are at or very near peak levels, selection is limited, demand is high and competition is fierce.”

Of the markets assessed, values in 13 are still below the national median: Cleveland, Ohio ($ 134,600); Pittsburgh, Pa. ($ 137,400); Indianapolis, Ind. ($ 138,100); Detroit, Mich. ($ 141,000); St. Louis, Mo. ($ 148,600); Cincinnati, Ohio ($ 152,600); Kansas City, Mo. ($ 159,400); Columbus, Ohio ($ 162,500); San Antonio, Texas ($ 162,700); Charlotte, N.C. ($ 174,800); Houston, Texas ($ 178,400); Atlanta, Ga. ($ 179,900); and Tampa, Fla. ($ 185,700).

Twelve of the markets assessed, however, are far removed, with some sustaining values at least three times higher than the national median: San Jose, Calif. ($ 1,013,700); San Francisco, Calif., ($ 854,300); Los-Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, Calif. ($ 609,800); San Diego, Calif. ($ 548,000); Seattle, Wash. ($ 447,100); Boston, Mass. ($ 427,700); New York, N.Y. ($ 422,300); Washington, D.C. ($ 382,600); Denver, Colo. ($ 370,000); Sacramento, Calif. ($ 369,200); Portland, Ore. ($ 367,400); and Riverside, Calif. ($ 328,800).

The national median rent in the Zillow Rent Index (ZRI), meanwhile, has posted an annual gain of 1.1 percent, with the median rent totaling $ 1,422.

“Given these high costs and high competition, the most important thing you can do is get your finances in order so you know what you can comfortably afford, and find an agent who has experience with bidding wars and will help you stand out in a competitive market, especially if you’re buying for the first time,” Gudell says.

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Suzanne De Vita is RISMedia’s online news editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark

The post Homes Have Never Been More Valuable Than They Are Now appeared first on RISMedia.


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